Florida State vs Clemson
Florida State (4-0, 2-0 ACC) made a second half statement inside Doak Campbell Stadium, scoring 35 points after the break in a 49-37 win over tenth-ranked Clemson.
Quarterback EJ Manuel was the star of the night, a night that featured offensive production from both teams. Manuel finished the game 27-for-35 for 380 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, the senior rushed for 102 yards as well.
The Seminoles gained 667 yards of total offense to counter Clemson's 426, with the Tigers making noise early on in the game. Clemson led 21-14 at the break, taking advantage of Seminole miscues while also moving the ball down the field on what is considered a top-caliber defense nationally.
Outside of Manuel, Florida State was led by Chris Thompson in overall yards from scrimmage. The senior running back amassed 103 rushing yards (plus two scores) as well as 79 yards on eight catches.
FSU moves on to face South Florida in Tampa next weekend.
Nick O'Leary hauled in two passes for 20 yards in the first quarter
The Skinny: Florida State and Clemson wasted no time finding the fireworks. Clemson scored on a 60-yard touchdown from Tajh Boyd to De'Andre Hopkins just 87 seconds into the game. Florida State responded quickly as fullback Lonnie Pryor hammered a 13-yard touchdown home to tie things at 7-7 with 10:54
FSU's celebrated defense got its first stop late in the first quarter trailing 14-7, a stop highlighted by a Tank Carradine sack.
Key Play: On fourth-and-1 from the FSU 16, Clemson went for a fake field goal and barely converted the first down. FSU coach Jimbo Fisher challenged the spot of the ball but the spot stood as called. It led to Clemson's second touchdown of the night, a 6-yard run by Andre Ellington.
Florida State missed the mark on its field goal attempt on the ensuing possession as Dustin Hopkins missed a 44-yarder.
Key Stat: Florida State and Clemson combined to stockpile 361 total yards in the first quarter alone. FSU had 193 against the Tigers' 168.
EJ Manuel and the FSU offense racked up 311 yards in the first half
The Skinny: Just when Florida State seemed to be getting its footing on defense and tiedt the game at 14-14, receiver Rashad Greene muffed a punt and gave the Tigers the football on the FSU 31. The Tigers scored four plays later on a 17-yard connection with Brandon Ford to make it 21-14 with 10:06 left in the half.
Key Play: Greene's muffed punt coupled with a pair of missed field goals from Dustin Hopkins have been the difference. Clemson scored on the turnover from Greene and the 'Noles left another six off the board with the misses.
Key Stat: Florida State has outgained Clemson 311 to 253 but the Tigers have no turnovers and no penalties.
The Skinny: The slugfest continued, and FSU took a stranglehold on the momentum.
Trailing 28-14 early in the period, FSU responded with a touchdown. And when the Tigers added a 50-yard field goal to make it 31-21, back came the 'Noles. Lamarcus Joyner returned a kick 90 yards to the Clemson 10, and FSU punched it in two plays later to make it 31-28. The Seminoles stopped Clemson and responded with another touchdown to take its first lead of the game.
Key Play: It looked like Florida State had the lead with a tough Chris Thompson 19-yard touchdown run, but the play was called back on a hold. FSU wasted no time, however, as QB EJ Manuel found Rodney Smith on a 29-yard touchdown on the next play. It gave the Seminoles a 35-31 lead, an edge it held as the quarter ended.
Key Stat: Through three quarters, QB EJ Manuel has 333 yards, surpassing his previous career high of 329 yards.
The Skinny: Florida State cemented its advantage over Clemson with a 14-point final quarter, leading Clemson by 18 down the stretch before a late Tiger touchdown. Quarterback EJ Manuel racked up 380 passing yards and eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground when he scrambled for a 29-yard gain to seal the win. FSU rushed for two scores - a 5-yard carry by James Wilder Jr. and a 27-yard carry by Chris Thompson.
Key Play: Thompson's score from 27 yards out came on the first play after Clemson's first turnover of the night. The score pu FSU ahead 49-31 with 8:34 to play.
Key Stat: Florida State possessed the ball for eight minutes, 37 seconds in the quarter.